There is a silent shadow which seems to mirror a gaunt, dark, figure who prowls the busy airports, silent streets, and even the cozy homes. There is no escaping this man, the destroyer. No walls are thick enough to shut him out, no mountain high enough to evade his wrath. He is death… he is predetermined… he is unpredictable… to some he is simply fascinating. The wish to live, the inability to believe in ones own menacing death, the universal human faith in ones own immunity to death- all these are factors which contribute to the sweeping popularity of Jack London and Eudora Weltys work.
People re intrigued by death because it can not be explained. Yet, London and Welty have comforted these fears and intrigues by allowing them to enter the twisted mind of a crazed murderer. These authors provide them with the answers they lack and furnish them with the ability to fathom the unfathomable. They confront the horrors of death and emphasize the reality of its looming presence. Consequently, satisfying the fascination their readers crave.
Jack London and Eudora Welty have planted a seed of fear in the hearts of many people through their vivid description of death, however their motives techniques, and ifestyles have allowed them to create a diversity of approaches to portraying bloodshed. Eudora Welty and Jack London come from very different walks of life. Welty was born on April 13, 1909 in a small town in Jackson, Mississippi. Her community and childhood experiences greatly influenced her style of writing as an adult. The love and support from her parents and her close knit community growing up inspired her life long curiosity of people and acute attention to detail.
The emphasis placed on education and reading early in life enriched her life as she grew older, and influenced her decision to become a writer. Growing up, she recalls memories of being read to which grew into a passion for the written word at an early age. Influenced and supported by her parents, Welty attended the Mississippi State College for Women in 1925. After two years of education in Mississippi, she decided to transfer to the University of Wisconsin. In 1929 she graduated from the U of W with a BA in English.
Under the guidance of her father, she attended Columbia University Business School. Where she studied advertising as a backup for her writing. Her father thought it was important to cultivate additional skills, in the event her writing career failed. In 1933 she began writing for newspapers. This allowed her to become a more well-rounded writer. As well as, provide her with experiences she would later base her literature on. During these years, she met little success and much frustration. However in 1941, her first collection of short stories, A Curtain of Green and Other Stories was published.
Before long, the public began regarding Eudora Welty as a notable author, and the demand for her work began to swell. Her successful short stories had created a hunger for longer works. In 1942 her friend John Woodburn encouraged her to write The Robber Bridegroom,, her first novel. From that point on her career as a writer flourished, and she began supplying the public with an array of fictional literature. She wrote many essays, critical reviews, and she even wrote for theater.
She has contributed to the popularity of show business with such plays and musicals as: The Ponder Heart, and What Year is This? Furthermore, her published autobiography One Writers Beginning, was instantly embraced by America; and has become a best-seller. Weltys writing is riddled with culture and experience chiefly due to her home town of Jackson Mississippi. Other cultures contribute to the variety of her work, but overall her Mississippi heritage and pride will always be heard through the voice of her writing (Eudora Welty 939-40). The small southern bell town of Jackson is miles from the sunny shores of Jack Londons birthplace in California. And his ability to write can not be attributed to large universities or extensive education.
Jack London was a self educated man who learned from his surroundings. His education bloomed from his experience on the California ranches and laboring with the working class communities of Oakland. His environment as his mentor and nourished his genius to write literature. Unable to make a dent in the magazine outlet, London decided to get rich fast by moving to the Yukon to search for gold. London along with his flood of dreams fled to the Klondike Gold Rush. He returned in 1897 a poor man, but his wealth came in a different form of currency.
The precious memories and the wholeness of his experience outweighed any amount of gold he could have brought back. He had indeed struck gold while in Yukon, and these nuggets of adventure became the foundation of his fame and glory in later years. London found hat the peoples interest lay in his experiences, observations, and brutal depiction of the However, his adventurous days gradually faded away. In 1900 London settled down in Oakland and married Elizabeth May Maddern. They started a family and had two daughters. But in 1905 their marriage came to an end and they were divorced.
Wasting no time, he married Chairmain Kitteredge within that same year. With Charmain by his side, London set out on a seven year voyage. However, Londons poor health was mightier than his dream; and he was forced to abandon his expedition. London spent the ast years of his life building a scientifically run ranch complex in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, California. His death is still a mystery to this day. At age forty-five on November 22, 1916 Jack London died at his ranch in California. Leaving behind footprints that will stamp Americas literary soil.
He has entertained his readers for years and will continue to do so for generations. His literature is cherished all over the world and has been translated into over fifty languages. It will take a mighty blow to knock him off the high pedestal which many inspired writers have placed him on. Many prominent literary figures look up to him with admiration and respect. He will continue to influence literature as contemporaries study his legendary footprints he has left behind. (Jack London Eudora Welty and Jack Londons style of writing becomes a guide on a journey to the unfathomable depths of ones being.
The distance between two words can span from coast to coast, and their work becomes a bridge which joins fiction and reality. Eudora Welty stages most of her stories in small towns centered around an innocent society blind to the wrath which is about to strike them. She plucks the reader out of their daily outine and places them in a barren community plagued by the ruthless havoc of death. In Clytie Welty begins the saga by describing a normal urban village and a typical days events. A little boy kicked his bare heels into the sides of his mule, which proceeded slowly through the town toward the country (Welty 144).
However the ordinary is quickly overcome by the devastation of death and the mental disorder of a crazed family living in this town. In Flowers for Marjorie she shows how the city is unaware of the murder which has taken place, and to everybody else, it is just another day. He set his hat on straight and walked through the crowd of children who surged about jumping rope, chanting and jumping around him with their lips hanging apart (Welty 179). Welty describes the impact death and murder can cause as an entire town becomes involved when Death visits their conventional community in The Hitch-Hickers.
They was tryin to take your car, and down the street one of em like to bust the other ones head wide opm with a bottle. Everybodys out there. Looks like they heard the commotion (Welty 120). By creating a common setting, Welty emphasizes the notion that death has no arriers, and he will strike anywhere. Jack London uses a different atmosphere to convey his image of death. He has chosen the immense landscape of Alaska to illustrate the path death travels. He emphasis the rustic, savage murders which occur in Alaskan villages.
Even out in the middle of nowhere Death will find a victim to snare. In Which Make Men Remember, London invites death into a desolate cabin inhabited by two fugitives trying to escape the consequences of murdering a man in a nearby town. He pulled the trigger. Fortune did not whirl, but gay San Francisco dimmed and faded, and as the sunbright snow turned lack and blacker, he breathed his last malediction on the Chance he had misplayed (London 172). The communities of Alaskan Indian villages also come face to face with death. As a blood-bath breaks out during a peace meeting.
The mural of death covers the city walls, as well as, the white snowcapped mountains of Alaska, there is no escaping The description of characters adds variety to their diverse writing. Welty uses weak, innocent victims, while Londons victims are fearless, powerful men. This causes compassion to seep into the hearts of Weltys readers, and pride to swell in those of Londons listeners. Weltys use of description has the ability to overpower the senses and, force her reader to become one with the characters. London use of poetic orator transforms the reader into a small child.
He writes as if he were telling a bed time story, and lulls the small child into a fantasy world of foreign customs and uncharted territory. Having two very different stages naturally gives rise to different themes and plots depicted by the authors. In most of Weltys work, she illustrates death as an unnecessary end to life. Death is an element to life which is tragic and improper. In Flowers for Marjorie there was no justifiable logic as to why Howard killed his wife. In The Hitch-Hickers the reasoning behind the murder is not explained, hence to the reader it seems completely unnecessary.
Londons theme which trickles throughout many of his stories is the philosophy of survival of the fittest. The fight for life, and the competition for life is essential to survival in the rugged mountains of Alaska. In The Death of a Legion, it is obvious that it was the duty of the chief warriors to kill one another in order to maintain the pride of their tribe; and to show the power of a chief. In Which Makes Men Remember, death becomes a game to see who can kill first. It is inevitable that someone must die in order to ratify his own life. London emphasizes the theme of honor in death.
The only honorable thing to do was to kill and be killed in The Death of a Legion. Had the blood bath not ended with Legion being dead, then he would have been a disgrace to his tribe. In Clytie, Welty depicts the mentally disturbed womens death as an ultimatum to the horrible life she was forced to partake of. There was no honor in her death. However there was no honor in her life either. Jack London and Eudora Welty have written these brilliant works to motivate some emotion within their readers. Welty characteristically tries to induce pity and compassion as her primary motivater.
She makes her victims fragile and weak, which causes one to taste the bitter death the pathetic victims are facing. In Clytie, Welty takes great care to describe the main characters miserable life which she detests. Clytie longs for beauty, youth, and love to radiate her dark soul, however there seems to be no forecast for sunshine. In a final state of complete hopelessness, she throws herself into a rough of water upon meeting her wretched reflection. Likewise in Flowers For Marjorie the vision of Marjories limb helpless body slumped over the window seal is etched in ones mind.
Ones heart is marinated in the description of her horrible death. Tenderness and compassion overflows at the thought of the powerless young mother, which evades ones emotions. Jack London is aiming for a much different emotion to leap out at his readers. He injects them with the excitement, honor, and adventure which leads up to the moments before death. As he describes the blood-bath of chiefs in The Death f a Legion, he causes adrenaline to overcome any moral obligation to the character being killed. He forms an image in ones mind that glorifies the honor in death, and brings out the primitive adventurer in ones inner being.
In Which Makes Men Remember, London emphasize the thrill and sport in slaughtering another man; leaving no thought to The colorblind world had never seen color until Jack Londons colorful writing opened their eyes to a new world. He describes the gold rush using a panoramic depiction of the brutality and cruel amusement of death. His picture proved the sole importance to a man during this time was survival and money. Little thought or care was given to the sanity of a man as long as he could survive, and he had money to throw in on a poker game.
He describes the northern gambler, and his awareness that the life of a gambler, especially a dishonest one, would be short lived. Lifes a skin-game… I never had half a chance… I was faked in my birth and flimflammed with my mothers milk. The dice were loaded when she tossed the box, and I was born to prove the loss. Chance is a gamblers best friend or worst enemy. In addition to survival, London emphasizes a theme of dominance and sovereignty in The God of His Fathers. Sovereignty over man by nature is Londons predominate philosophy. His theory of mastery was the idea that man will never be able to overcome the power of nature.
In the end, law and harmony will prevail connect the white-man and nature. In his earlier writing he struggled to portray individual identity, so he turned his attention to blood brotherhood(Geismar 264) Londons does not create his characters from factual people from his past: they are demigods, nameless heroes who lived during a fearless time in American history. Years later theses brave men are being honored through epic stories. (Pattee 258) Race supremacy becomes a critical issue in many of Londons short stories. The first story in which race became a dominant theme was The God of His Fathers.
Jack London writes, Race is the true God… But, his philosophy is reconstructed in his later works. Children of the Frost is the beginning of a new wave of ideas for London. It is the death of racial identity. Mastery is murdered as London recants his belief that order and harmony have the ability to conquer death. My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel-it is, before all, to make you see. Pattee 258) Londons ability of description created his self-proclaimed reputation of a realist. It was a quality and style of writing that was meaningful to him.
However, many critics believe that Londons vivid description created an unrealistic picture of how things really were during that time. They argue that he exaggerated the beauty, and disguised much of the truth. (Pattee 258) London incorporated the literary technique of realism into the storyboard of tragedies. These stories inspire both fear and pity. The events are sudden and portray roles being reversed to humble the hero and show him his ignorance. Pattee Eudora Welty manipulates scenes, experiences and characters in her short stories in order to arouse the readers awareness of the terror which shadows evil.
In Clytie she vividly describes the scene where the old maid drowns herself in a barrel of rain water. She paints a realistic episode which will lurk in the subconscience of every reader, and strike fear in the hearts of every one who witnesses the incident. (Glenn 471) She creates lifelike scenes and characters in order to provide a connection to her readers. Her characters, settings, and experiences are so ordinary the reader can not discern reality from iction. She will fabricate events which run parallel to the lives of her reader. (Glenn 471) Weltys profound tenderness is a focal point in many of her short stories.
Particularly in Clytie where she portrays a wretched old maid who dwells in a life whom no one understands or cares to understand. She is taunted by the beauty of the world, and is tortured by the cruelty which this wonderful world thrust upon her. Weltys writing always grants pity and mercy for those who are seeking love, yet are never able to attain this emotion which is essential to life. (Jones 481) Many of Weltys stories involve haracters who are deprived of something and are living on the edge of life. They view this lifestyle not as a social issue, but as product of humanity.
They have no desire for standing within the community, riches or power, however they merely aspire for love and companionship. Her characters stand at many different places on the latter of success, however they share a common hunger for love. (Jones 482) Welty has mastered the art of walking the tightrope. She performs the amazing balancing act of accenting the tenderness and brutality which can live in the hearts of humanity. (Harris 464) In Flowers for Marjorie, Welty mystifies the reader and leads them on a journey which is indistinguishable from reality or fantasy.
She brilliantly entangles Howards violent dream of killing his wife into a precession of ironic events. The reader is led on a journey, unsure if it is really happening or if it is Howards mind running wild. However, in the end reality prevails and his wifes dead body is the only reliable truth. (Hardy 487) The descriptive details are not especially grisly; she understates, as always. But, the blood-terror is unmistakably evoked and the terror of the inexplicable permeates the ages. (Hardy 487) Some critics argue that Weltys tactical scheme in Flowers for Marjorie results in a irritating parody.
The sequence of ironic events and disarray of symbols in the story produces confusion. Placing the reader in an unrealistic fantasy world. (Hardy 487) The Hitch-Hikers, unlike Flowers for Marjorie, is not impaired by irony and illusion. Welty furnishes the reader with a simple bizarre plot which leads up to a mysterious conclusion. (Hardy 487) Welty surpasses the imagination of most authors through her perseverance of hope which embodies the characters. This hope leads to the bility of concrete matter to overcome and endure through the death of their users. Hardy 488). In Flowers for Marjorie, a bouquet of dying flowers instantly become alive again as the small girls run to put them in their hair. (Hardy 488) Weltys writing embody many racial undertones, however she masks this motif by emphasizing the presence of African American humanity. She has mastered the art of delicately capitalizing the concept that African Americans are the source of many spiritual barricades. Nevertheless, she fails to recognize that these burdens are collateral to the history and culture of the white man. Hardy 488).
The works of these two great authors have presented people of present and past with different outlooks on death through style, themes, and motive. Although their views are distinctly personal, they both tackle the essence of mans greatest fear and fascination. Their views represent a certain era of history which deserves to be passed down from generation to generation through their words. Jack London and Eudora Welty engage in a battle to help people fathom the unfathomable mystery of death. They have become the trailblazers in the journey to explore the winding backroads Death has traveled.